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MR. SPOTS by Hugo Urueña


by Hugo Urueña & illustrated by Laura Pelaez & developed by ATOMIC STUDIO SAS & Churukogames

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: April 27th, 2013
Publisher: Churukogames

This grammatical nightmare has a scrawny storyline, ho-hum graphics and rudimentary interaction. But the music’s kind of catchy.

If there were an award for worst language translation, this app might win the grand prize. The creators hail from Colombia, and apparently, they aren’t fluent in English. The text on the first screen reads, “Milky and Cocoa bark excited. / They want to see the puppy hide inside the box.” Unless the two dogs are actually barking the word “excited” (they aren’t) and want to watch a puppy climb into a box (it’s already hidden there, but—surprise—it’s really a cat), the sentences are ambiguous. And things get progressively worse. The rest of the story is about dogs trying to ascertain some indistinct “cat wisdom,” but it never goes anywhere meaningful (or even vaguely logical). Readers must master the “games” between chapters to move on, finding differences between cats and dogs and/or otherwise searching for hidden elements. Spanish speakers might find the app a completely different experience, but English speakers—particularly those hoping to inculcate emergent literacy in English in young children—should give it a pass.

Given how much money and sweat goes into app development, it’s absolutely astounding that these folks didn’t bring on a qualified English translator before launching. Now that would be some wisdom. (requires iOS 6+) (iPad storybook app. 2-5).